Her eyes stood wide, incendiary,
Drinking-in a rain-bruised sky
Emptying its blackness into the valley below.
The smoke curled above the memories
Burning a hole in the sacrificial night;
A shroud against the rage of reminiscence.
From behind that veil of an aching past,
She took back all she never said.
They alone knew the secret gestures,
They alone saluted the strangers,
Echoing their greetings through the Where youth, in shining naïveté, stood
Shoulder to shoulder with agéd calm:
The spirit dying into furrows of silence,
The wonder rising in sleep-laden eyes.
They await the broken star's approach.
A torrent of crowding thought,
Revealed in the holocaustic offering of existence,
Plays tiresome tricks on a waning conscience –
Those highlights of a low life descend upon
The burned-out hearth of a decrepit ruin.
Chiselled into the remains of that hovel,
The markings of purpose whisper
Reminders of a long gone hope.
By more than the weeds they have trodden
Will they be not once remembered;
Of their last inaction not a note shall be played.
The blind mind’s-eye a testimonial
To the ceaseless battle waged in the darkness;
The muted breeze a recollection of sin.
Fettered hands, paler than a Homeric dawn,
Guarded close by rusted swords.
Torn now from a formless sleep,
Lulled into a waking dream.
In visions, harsh, yet freshly seen,
Numbed and still as a childless womb,
Lay the truths she dared to doubt:
Unknown yet born of events unique,
To one whose shadow could command men’s fear;
Whose tongue alone could deafen their ear.
Leather-bound by decades of disuse,
Still sharp enough to slice the wind,
And mounted on that frozen isle
South of heaven, beyond the sun.
No visiting eyes should want for sight
Of their endeavour, in ice depicted.
The final end the enchanter predicted –
It came to pass, this age of revenge.
Within the tomb of her wicked birth
Was born the influential curse –
The circumstance to signify the fall;
The collapsing of an empire ancient.
Conquering thrones crumbled to dust,
Their Kings usurped by enemies’ greed;
Kings whose palaces of homeland exile
Ended bathed in their subjects’ blood.
Slow their march to a purposeful end,
The sun-bleached sky naught but a thought.
Approaching the gate on a moonless night,
The burning pyres eerily stand,
A corridor of fire dividing the town,
In grim aspect of the day’s debauch.
A child’s wail soared as they snatched
The infant from its mother’s arms.
Those gentle hands she once called home,
A mirage in deserted memory.
The bones that held have faded to dust,
The morning that bore her has faded to dusk.
Upon the spiral steps of time,
Toward the howl of dying days,
Into the open mouth of death,
An innocent sinner carried home.
Seen far beyond the eastern plains,
Followed by none whose presence should worry;
No saviour knows the paths they walk
Between the seas and the end of time.
Behind the curtain of mystery none may see,
Behind the wall no mortal ventures.
Their captive barely come-of-age,
She who would be civilisation’s queen.
Her kidnap broke the heathen reign;
A devil’s due were the tyrants owed.
Crowned amidst a cavalcade of laughing tears,
Hailed by voices that weave theatric.
Should she come to live another age
No summer rain could cloud her youth;
Any old love would be never renewed -
Those secrets were never hers to know.
All roaming thought beneath the sun
That turns its face up to the light,
Blessed shall be by burning heaven
To linger still, ‘til dawn’s return.
And they who, tempted, were to steal
The gift before the mother’s eyes,
Content shall they in mortality lie
But still a debt to silence owe.
On this broken and uncoiled earth
When fall they to their final sleep,
Shall cease the pendulum’s eternal swing
And hum the night to a wintry death.
From blackened roofs to the stars they pray,
Upon the mountains where, unmoved, Time waits,
To linger, unchristened, beyond Man’s reach;
To end the night with which he ends his days.